I’m giving seminary another go.  Part time this time.  One class per half term.  Distance learning.

I’ve felt the nudge for the last few months.  This past week I went to church for the first time in a while.  And for the first time in a while, I remembered who God has called me to be.  And what He’s called me to do.

I can barely breathe as I write this.

I’ve had this ongoing dialogue with a good friend for the past few months.  It was pretty light until about a week and a half ago.  We sat in my car for a pretty good amount of time discussing Christianity, church doctrine, his beliefs and understanding of Christianity and church doctrine.

This has been one of the toughest dialogues that I’ve had in a very LONG time.  I value the friendship that we have grown, but I can’t misrepresent the Bible.  I can’t change what the Bible says.  I can’t say that what the Bible says is wrong…because if one part of the Bible is wrong, then everything that I believe, everything that literally holds me together, would come undone.

We have one sticking point:  homosexuality.  My friend can’t understand how the Bible can say that something that isn’t harming the community at large, has no negative effect on the community, can be sin.  I explained it from a health point-of-view.  (Health risks can be reduced with the use of condoms.)  I explained it from a procreation point of view. (He pointed out that a man and a woman who either use birth control or who have had a vasectomy/tubal ligation have made strides not to procreate.)  I understand his points.  But I also know that God has a reason for calling homosexuality a sin. 

Another point that my friend made was that he’s never had the experience where someone has been the victim of a hate crime for haing a vesectomy/tubal ligation.  I couldn’t fight with this either.

I trust that God knows what is best for humankind…after all, He created us.  I trust that the Word of God will stand forever.  But I wish I were more prepared for this exchange.

The problem that I have defending my faith is not defending the inerrancy of the Bible.  I can talk my way through what sets the Bible apart from other religious texts.  I can show how things that people once thought were bunk in the Bible have been proven to be true and rational. 

The problem that I have is defending the actions of the church–in the past and the present–wherein they take the word of God out of context and put those false doctrines on people both in and out of the church.  I have trouble defending people who don’t know the Bible or the heart of the Gospel performing hate crimes on a group of people, using the Bible as their ammunition.

This is just where I am at this moment…

I know that God will bless me for sticking by his side even though I was potentially risking a friendship that I value.

1 Peter 5:8-9 is really coming alive for me right now.  I’ve always been aware that there is an enemy lurking, waiting to destroy all believers.  Look at the state of the church right now.

I have two people in my life right now who keep telling me that they are my friends. I know that they aren’t.  But they keep insisting.  Yesterday, one of my “friends” gave me a speech, telling me that I shouldn’t be naive, that not everyone is my friend.

The problem with these people is that they look like my friends.  They appear to be doing things to help me.  But the reality is that I know that they are actually working to destroy me.  Not physically.  Not even professionally.  In the small things.  Placing seeds of doubt into the minds of those around me as to my competency.  Attempting to place seeds of doubt in my mind about people that I call friend.

The enemy of the Christian is much the same.  He doesn’t really look like an enemy.  He looks inoccuous.  But I have a question for you?  Who saw the plague infected flea that bit him and ended up killing him?  How many see the malaria in the mosquito that bites their arm, killing them? 

Today, I challenge you to be wary.  Watch out.  Pray.  Fight the enemy friends.  If you stand up against him, he will flee.

Psalm 34:8 says, ” 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”  I have quoted that scripture but until this Sunday, I really didn’t know what it meant.

Life’s been tough.  But, I’ve held onto all of the stuff myself.  Not really blaming anyone for my decisions…more like taking the beating in a self-loathing kind of way.  On Sunday, I had the option of taking communion.  It has been a really long time since I’ve taken communion.  I felt a prodding to go forward for communion, but in my head I heard the story of the person who took communion in the New Testament and died.  Finally God said to me, “Deneen, why will you not partake in My feast?”  I started to tear up.  Then I got up and took communion.  Let me tell you something.  Never did communion taste so sweet to my soul.  And never before did I appreciate the magnitude of the sacrifice represented by the bread and juice of which I partook.

I know that the Bible isn’t literal…but for me that scripture was never so vivid as when I took communion.

Last night I fell asleep praying like I’ve not prayed in a long time.  I woke up like any other day.  Only it wasn’t any other day.  I prayed on my way to work this morning.  I dedicated my eyes, my ears, my thoughts, my hands to God.  My circumstances didn’t change.  My view on certain people and things didn’t change.  But something inside me had changed.  I took refuge in the Lord.  When it got to be too much, I read a scripture–Isaiah 40:28-31-which brought me peace. 

Something happens when we partake in communion.  Something that surpasses natural logic.  I cannot point to a specific something that changed.  Empirically I still work for the same company, in the same building.  I still drive the same number of miles and work with the same people.  But something in me changed.

If you are reading this, I challenge you to taste and and see that the Lord is good.

This blog has been idle for too long.  Rather than mingle the ramblings of my mind (which are confusing at best and generally frustrating)  I am going to utilize this domain for my study of the Bible.  Why have empty space?

My goal is to start soon…sooner than later.

Well, I had to leave seminary.  The full time job has bled into all areas of my life.  I love the rigor of academic life, and I fully foresee attending seminary in the future.  God has placed the desire in my heart.  The trick of the whole desires of the heart thing is God’s timing.  I forced God’s hand and dropped the ball in the end.  Because it wasn’t my ball to hold at the moment.  I wanted my way right away. 

I don’t admit defeat.  Rather, I admit pushing God’s hand.  Lord, forgive my impatience.  I pray that You will show me Your timing.  And I pray that I have the patience to wait for Your timing.

I had this romantic idea when I began seminary that I would be able to make it to B&N every night for at least 2 hours of reading.  I thought that I’d be able to balance work and school and life.  I thought that I would be able to make school a priority.

The reality:  not so much.  I have responsibilities.  I kind of like having a car.  I like having a job.  So, I find myself in a bit of a pickle.  Right now, school has to be on the back burner.  I’m doing my work, but I’m not dedicating myself 100% to the cause.  I’m still doing well…but not the level of work I’d like to do.  I know that there is some lesson in here somewhere.  I just don’t know what it is.

Please pray that God would direct my steps.  Right now I am a bit perplexed.  But…God is God, no matter what.  God knows the beginning from the end, so He knows where this is going.  And I trust Him.

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